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We were big fans of Samsung’s first 360-degree camera, but has some issues with its compatibility (it only worked with Samsung smartphones) and its design (it required a selfie stick). With the second version of the, Samsung appears to have addressed both of those problems, and improved the quality of video, too.

Design-wise, the new Gear 360 has a small handle below its bulbous top; a large record button on the handle allows you to start and stop recordings.

— as well as the iPhone 6S, 6S Plus, SE, 7, and 7 Plus. Despite the competition between Samsung and Apple, making this camera compatible with iOS will definitely increase its popularity.

Like the original, the new Gear 360 connects to a smartphone via Wi-Fi (802.11ac) and Bluetooth 4.1, though it also has a USB Type-C port so you can attach it directly to a PC or Mac. It’s water and dust resistant, so it’ll survive a splash, but not much more. Also like the first Gear 360, this one has a microSD card slot, as well as an internal battery.

While longer at 3.9 inches (because of the handle), the new Gear 360 is slightly less bulbous than the original, with a diameter of about 1.8 inches (compared to 2.2-2.4 inches for the first Gear 360). It’s also lighter, at 4.6 ounces.

The Gear 360 will be available for pre-order on March 30, and will go on sale on April 21.

GameSpot reports that while testing out Kinect, the system failed to identify two dark-skinned employees, while lighter-skinned employees were recognized immediately. However, the situation with Kinect’s facial recognition isn’t so black and white. GS’s Brendan Sinclair writes that though system recognized one employee inconsistently and was never able to properly identify another despite repeated calibration attempts, it was able to recognize a third dark-skinned staff member. Though this could be put down to Kinect’s facial recognition software just being dodgy as a whole, Sinclair reports lighter-skinned employees were consistently picked up on the first try.

The situation is reminiscent of.

.

[Update] Consumer Reports has done a little test to see if Kinect really is ‘racist,’ as many sites are reporting. The consumer advocate group says that it is similar to the HP webcam problem in that the Kinect cameras need a certain amount of light to recognize faces. CR found that the system had problems recognizing users with both light and dark skin when there was insufficient light in the gaming environment, and added that there wasn’t any instance when one person was recognized and another wasn’t under the same lighting conditions.

Check out what Consumer Reports had to say:

Out of all the garbage the Apple App scientists have approved this year alone–child porn, shaking babies–it stands to question why the company would even consider rejecting artwork–and decent artwork at that–depicting President Barack Obama. Start Mobile, the company inserting an iPhone version of the Obama ‘Hope’ artwork into its latest app, is probably wondering the same thing after a long run of approvals (18) from Apple. The App that contains the artwork, Start Mobile’s Wallpaper Gallery (v1.0), also contains additional images, however the App and the other images aren’t the problem, just Obama’s face.

Supporters of Barack Obama are already aware of the ‘Hope’ poster, created by Shepard Fairey, which depicts the hopeful democratic presidential candidate in red, white, and blue. It’s awesome, it’s inspiring, and entirely all-American. So what’s the deal? Why did Apple reject the artwork? That’s a good question, and here’s the answer Apple provided the company:

‘It contains content that ridicules public figures and is in violation of Section 3.3.12 from the iPhone SDK Agreement which states: ‘Applications must not contain any obscene, pornographic, offensive or defamatory content or materials of any kind (text, graphics, images, photographs, etc.), or other content or materials that in Apple’s reasonable judgment may be found objectionable by iPhone or iPod touch users.”

With that said Apple thus requested that Start Mobile make the necessary changes and resubmit the application.

After receiving Apple’s rejection letter, John Doffing of Start Mobile fired back an email along with the image in question, asking rather nicely just what the company was talking about. There’s nothing in the image that ridicules a public figure, nor is it obscene, pornographic, offensive or defamatory in any way. Readers who have kept up with Apple’s App blunders over the years certainly know Obama’s poster is unlike many of the obscene images that have slipped through Apple’s finely-tunes senses. In fact, Shepard Fairey’s depiction has been included in the National Portrait Gallery.

Aspoints out, Start Mobile has three other apps featuring the works of Shepherd Fairey already available in the App Store. Additionally, other approved applications are using the image and variations thereof. One application even uses an altered version of the Hope image as an icon, yet Apple won’t approve the version Star Mobile submitted. Doffing said that Start Mobile has another app waiting for approval, it too containing a different piece of artwork depicting the president, and it’s put on hold for the same reason.

Of course, Start Mobile could remove the images in question and resubmit the apps, but honestly, why should they? It’s President Barack Obama! Doffing told Tech Crunch that the whole Obama image debate is just another case of the App Store approval process ‘gone off the tracks.’ Is it surprising? After the boobs, the child porn, and the shaking baby app infiltrating the Store, we believe it wholeheartedly.

Infuriated, Doffing contact Apple directly a few weeks ago where he was told that apps containing images of Obama were being rejected automatically thanks to the election back in February. Apparently, there was a lot of ‘incendiary political content’ coming through the Apple App Store approval process, and according to Doffing, sometimes ‘the baby is thrown out with the bathwater.’ With that said, the rejection of the Obama image may not have anything to do with the actual depiction, but the amount of Obama material coming into the approval gates during the last five months.

Still, the rejection letter dates back to May, so we’re not buying the excuse. As shown throughout this article, this latest rejection is just another example that Apple’s approval process is broken and seriously needs an overhaul. Developers aren’t making money when Apple rejects the apps for no reason, and consumers will lose faith if the company continues to allow questionable content filter into the Store, and reject the ones that actually inspire Americans during troubling economic conditions.

An. As it stands now, the current PlayStation 3 is an excellent entertainment hub given that customers aren’t forced to pay an added ‘network fee’ (like Xbox Live) to access subscriptions such as Netflix and Hulu Plus. The drawback is that the PlayStation 3’s non-gaming offering isn’t quite as robust as the Xbox 360, but perhaps that will change with the new console.

According to the unnamed official, the main selling point of the PlayStation 4 will be new styles of play, not the updated hardware set which supposedly includes a rumored eight-core AMD64 CPU. If anything, Sony will promote the new hardware as a means of breaking away from the traditional console mindset by allowing mobile devices to connect and share media and other goods. It will be the ‘nerve center’ of your house, the official claimed.

. Unlike OnLive which serves up a streaming subscription, rentals and full-blown game purchases directly to members, Gaikai serves as the middleman between the seller and the buyer — it’s a platform only. There’s a good chance PlayStation 4 owners will be able to purchase games from Sony that can be stored and streamed from the cloud.

That said, it’s quite possible PC-based games provided by SOE could be offered on the console as well like EverQuest 2 or the just-launched Wizardry Online (aka speculation). The paper said that the console will be ‘fully networked’ and ‘be furnished with the ability to exchange opinions amongst one’s friends while playing games.’ A fully-networked console could mean it will be dual-band so that it can access the less-congested 5 GHz band on compatible networks, thus improving streaming performance.

 

 

The streaming music industry just got a little more complicated, as YouTube’s evolved its major offerings with a YouTube Music subscription service and YouTube Premium (the new name for YouTube Red).

Here’s what current and potential subscribers need to know.

What is YouTube Music?

and the Google Play Music services, and compete with.

YouTube Music will feature everything you expect from a streaming music service, including millions of songs, albums, thousands of playlists and artist-based radio. Its major differentiator is YouTube’s ‘catalog of remixes, live performances, covers and music videos’ that aren’t on other platforms.

  • Unblock region-restricted videos with the best

How much does YouTube Music cost?

YouTube Music, similar to direct competitor Spotify, will be available as both an ad-supported free service as well as part of an ad-free $9.99 per month subscription called YouTube Music Premium. The paid version also includes two key features: background listening for multitaskers and downloadable content for offline mode.

As of Aug. 8, students starting new accounts can get a three-month trial of YouTube Music Premium (or YouTube Premium) — as opposed to the standard one-month trial, by.

How to download YouTube Music?

The service itself does not allow you to do this, but if you still need it, you can use a third-party service – ytsmp3.com
It allows you to convert youtube videos to mp3 – which means you can download any song from YouTube without any problems.

Anything cool or unique?

YouTube says the Music service’s search engine will allow you to find songs whose names you don’t know. Examples included searching with a description — typing ‘that hipster song with the whistling’ sends users to Peter Bjorn And John’s ‘Young Folks.’ Searching by lyric, such as typing in ‘I make money moves,” brings you Cardi B’s ‘Bodak Yellow.’

Much like the current Google Play Music app (more on that below), YouTube Music will suggest music to you based on where you are and the time of day. Ostensibly, that means I’ll get tunes that allow for focus during the workday, and fast-tempo jams if I go to the gym.

How does YouTube think this will compete with Spotify?

Spotify isn’t called out by name in the blog post announcing YouTube Music, but the post emphasized that this new service means you can get all your music (i.e. YouTube videos and streaming songs) from the same place. This points out how Spotify and Apple Music have both yet to really nail music videos, and that YouTube is still the premiere destination for that content.

Wait, didn’t YouTube Music already exist?

YouTube Music was an app for iOS and Android that focused on the music-related content on the video streaming service. In a nutshell, what’s changing is the added focus of audio-only music, and the two tiers of subscriptions.

What about Google Play Music Subscribers?

Members of the Google Play Music $9.99 per month subscription service will get YouTube Music Premium for free. Also, amidst all this shakeup and rebranding, neither the Google Play Music service nor its app will change at all.

What is YouTube Premium?

Less is changing over with, as it rebrands to YouTube Premium. Its core features won’t change — you’ll still get to watch videos without ads, listen to them in the background on mobile devices and save clips for offline viewing. YouTube Premium also provides access to YouTube Original programming, such as Cobra Kai and Step Up: High Water.

We’ve just found out thatwill now rise to a sharper maximum resolution, of 1080p, a rung above the previous 720p limit.

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And just as was the case when YouTube Red included Google Play Music, YouTube Premium will include YouTube Music Premium.

Oh, and don’t confuse it with YouTube’s live television streaming service. Ourguide can explain the difference.

What about current YouTube Red subscribers?

As a YouTube Red subscriber — yes, I will pay to remove ads and watch YouTube videos offline — I’m happy to note that current Red subscribers keep their $9.99 per month subscription rate when YouTube Red changes over to YouTube Premium. YouTube Red already includes Google Play Music, and that appears to be sticking around.

What about family plans?

In the comments section for the announcement post, forum member Andrew ‘Covarr’ Covarrubias asked about family plan pricing. Such discounts have yet to be announced, and I’ve reached out to YouTube for comment.

Oh, what a night. Yesterday evening, Skype for iPad cropped up in the App Store and was available for download. However, not too long after, it was pulled. The official Skype Twitter account acknowledged that the app had been pushed live but said it was an accidental launch.

‘To ensure your best Skype experience, we’ve temporarily removed Skype for iPad which went live prematurely today,’ the company said at about midnight last night, adding, ‘We know you’ve been eagerly awaiting Skype for iPad and apologize for the inconvenience.’

Fortunately, for those of you not quick enough to nab the app during the short time it was live, Skype seems to have decided that the iPad app is ready for public consumption after all.

‘Finally, Skype for iPad is now available,’ the company tweeted this morning.

In a blog post published at the same time, Skype’s Rick Osterloh, Head of Product Management, said that two-way video calling, instant messaging, contacts, navigation and SMS-messaging had all been optimized for iPad. Users will also be able to switch between the iPad’s front-facing and rear-facing cameras depending on what they want the caller to see. The app is free and will work over both WiFi and 3G.

Check the video below for a demo:

Spend any amount of time on Twitter lately, and you’re likely to run across some talking about or tweeting links to Meerkat. A relative newcomer to the social networking scene — the video streaming app only arrived in Apple’s App Store in late February — Meerkat has grabbed an outsized share of attention for its ability to deliver live video streams to your friends and followers. Just what is Meerkat and what can you do with it? Here’s a quick guide to getting the most out of this mobile app.

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What is Meerkat?

is a free app that lets you stream live video from your mobile device to anyone who follows you on Twitter. You start broadcasting simply by tapping the Stream button in the app, which also lets you schedule broadcasts for later.

So how is this different from Vine?

First, with Vine, you’re recording video and then sharing it with your followers. Meerkat is live and instantaneous from the moment you tap that Stream button. Also, Vine limits you to 6 seconds of video. (Videos shot in Instagram can be 15 seconds long.) Meerkat doesn’t place any time limit on how long you can stream, so you can keep broadcasting for as long as you or the people watching your video can stand it. Remember, though, that streaming video can eat up a lot of data — an important thing to keep in mind if your wireless plan has a monthly cap on how much data you can use.

Really, a better comparison to Meerkat would be the video conferencing features in Skype or Apple’s FaceTime app. The key difference is that with those apps, you’re communicating directly with a limited audience. On Meerkat, your stream can be seen by anyone.

How does Meerkat work?

Sign into the mobile app using your Twitter credentials, and after you give Meerkat permission to use your phone’s camera and microphone, you’re ready to stream.

Much of Meerkat’s appeal lies in the simplicity of its controls. The bottom right corner of the app gives you buttons to activate your camera’s flash, switch between rear- and front-facing cameras, and stop the recording. Meerkat informs you how many people are watching your stream and shows their Twitter icons across your screen. Likes, retweets and comments from followers also appear, and a chat icon in the left corner of the screen lets you talk back to your followers. In late March, Meerkat released a 1.1 update that gives you the option of limiting your comments to the Meerkat app; previously, comments on videos would also appear in Twitter.

What’s the video quality like?

Pretty good most of the time, though Meerkat is subject to the vagaries of your network. One of my test streams, in particular, was slowed down and even paused at points due to what the app chalked up to ‘low connectivity.’ Other streams worked just fine.

What happens when you schedule a stream in Meerkat?

Anyone following you through Meerkat gets a notification when you plan to launch your next live stream. And the Meerkat app will notify you when the appointed time arrives. Your scheduled stream will be prominently displayed in the Meerkat app; just tap the prompt to turn your scheduled stream into a live session.

The 1.1 update to Meerkat fixes a lot of flaws we encountered when trying to schedule streams in the 1.0 release. And that’s important given how Meerkat streaming sessions disappear as soon as you stop recording. By scheduling your streams well in advance, more of your followers will be able to tune in instead of missing out.

I missed a video one of my friends streamed. Can I still watch it later?

Nope. Once someone stops streaming, that broadcast goes away, leaving only a rather frustrating Stream Over page in its place to stoke your Fear of Missing Out anxieties. At a recent South by Southwest appearance, though, Meerkat CEO Ben Rubin promised that a future update would let people re-publish streams even after they’re no longer live.

And if you’re the one managing the stream, you currently have the option to save what you’ve been streaming by tapping a green Save This Stream button after you’ve stopped recording. That saves a file to your mobile device.

Is Meerkat tied in with Twitter?

Not as much as it used to be. Twitter has designs on promoting its own live streaming app, Periscope, which it bought in March.is currently a by-invitation-only app, though it reportedly offers more features than Meerkat.

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As it announced its Periscope purchase,. Before, you could automatically follow the same people on Meerkat that you followed on Twitter. But Twitter cut off Meerkat’s access to the social networking service’s social graph, so now you have to build up followers the odd-fashioned way — by seeking them out and adding them. You can still sign on to Meerkat using your Twitter log-in information, and tweets announcing when you’ve launched a live stream will appear in your timeline.

Don’t weep too much for Meerkat, though. The app’s developers say that itsafter Twitter clamped down on it. And the 1.1 update adds a number of ways to build up your Meerkat profile, such as recommended streams to follow and the ability to add more follows from inside a live stream.

Can I use Meerkat on any mobile device?

Meerkat only works on iOS at the moment. A full version of the app for Android is in the works, but right now, a hastily assembledsimply lets you watch videos; you can’t stream them. You can also watch Meerkat broadcasts on a laptop or desktop by clicking the Meerkat links that pop up in the Twitter client of your choice.

Couldn’t this be used for evil?

Sure. Just about any app can be used for some nefarious purpose its creators never even imagined, and with Meerkat’s ability to deliver video nearly instantaneously, the chances that some Not Safe For Work imagery may find its way to your phone courtesy of this particular app are not insignificant. Dig deep intoand you’ll find prohibitions against violating copyrights and threatening or harassing other people, but as Twitter’s own struggles with preventing online bullying by some of its users would suggest, there’s a big difference between prohibiting something and enforcing that ban.

So what is Meerkat really good for?

Before you lament the arrival of yet another way to share cat videos, you should understand there are some practical purposes for live streaming video delivered via Twitter. Attendees at SXSW have used Meerkat to stream sessions. Entertainers like Jimmy Fallon are experimenting with the app to give fans a behind-the-scenes look at their performances. And as I live streamed myself making corned beef and cabbage to 22 rapt viewers, I realized there’s a potential for how-to videos here. The challenge for Meerkat — or any rival live streaming app like Periscope — is to find the right mix of features that keep users coming back for more.

If you frequently send and receive video messages via Skype and wish there were a way to download the clips to your phone, a new update might just make your day.

The latest version of Skype for Android lets you save video messages you’ve sent and received to your gallery so you can keep them for posterity (or blackmail). It’s only available for video messages, meaning clips that you send to your friends over Skype IM, not the video calls you make.

  1. Update to the latest version of(6.11) on your Android device.
  2. Long press the video you want to save in the conversation window.
  3. Select Save To Gallery.
  4. Open your Movies or Videos folder on your phone to find the clip.

A recent article out of Brussels warns that young Europeans are in danger of damaging their ears by playing MP3s.

According to the Reuters, a European Union body on health risks warns that the young Europeans are playing the MP3s too loud through personal music players. However, the warning is not new, as adults and health officials have warned against ear damage caused by loud music ever since the invention of the portable music device… if not before.

The EU Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks stated that listening to MP3 players and other music devices – at high volumes for long periods of time – can cause loss of hearing and tinnitus. The Committee discovered that 5 to 10 percent of consumers risk permanent hearing loss if listening to loud music for one hour a day each week for at least five years. Currently there is no cure for tinnitus or hearing loss.

‘Let’s be frank — we are looking at a catastrophe unless something is done soon,’ Stephen Russell of the pan-European ANEC consumer safety group said.

While the warning is more of the same heard across decades, one thing to keep in mind is the current music industry’s need to deliver loud music. Many call it the ‘loudness war,’ and as Wikipedia, this classification refers to the music industry’s tendency ‘to record, produce and broadcast music at progressively increasing levels of loudness each year to create a sound that stands out from others and the previous year.’ Wikipedia even shows an animated diagram showing the trend in increasing loudness shown in waveform.

So while children of the 80s shrugged off parental scolding about listening to music at loud levels via those nifty tape players, critics of today have a more solid reason to warn against ear damage with louder, potentially damaging levels of music available in physical and digital form. In fact, today’s music might actually cause fatigue.

‘You get more apparent volume but less dynamics,’ producer Kevin Killen told thelast year, who has worked with Elvis Costello, Tori Amos and Jewel. ‘By the end of it, the listener just ends up feeling fatigued, a little like an assault to the ears.’

In an effort to combat the loudness wars, engineer Charles Dye co-founded Turn Me Up to show that musicians can create softer, more dynamic recordings. He said that record labels and producers originally did not set out to create loud music, to ‘strip music of dynamics and emotion,’ but rather continuously increased the volumes over the years because everyone else was doing it.

Ultimately, it’s not the actual MP3 that’s the root of the problem, but the engineered music compressed within the file. It would not be surprising if some organization steps in and regulates the loudness levels of music by either fining record companies, or implementing hardware volume limitations on music devices. Still, in the meantime, listeners should turn the volume down and preserve the eardrums before music levels become deafening.

Netflix lets your streaming account be used by up to four people at a time — but some of those people may be complete strangers halfway around the world.

Stolen Netflix account credentials are sold for as little as 25 cents apiece wholesale in online black markets, according to U.S. information- security company Symantec. The company says credentials are generally stolen either by phishing emails, or by malware posing as Netflix apps that may also steal credentials for online bank accounts.

Last month, Netflix suddenly expanded its streaming service to, including some nominally hostile to the United States, such as Cuba, Venezuela and Iran. The only major exceptions were Syria, North Korea and China.

This marketing coup also means that there are now a lot of potential Netflix customers in poorer countries who can’t afford to spend $8 a month for access on their Android phones — but can certainly pay a buck or two to the guys running the cellphone shop down the street. That cut-rate access comes through stolen credentials.

Your account, up for sale

‘There is an underground economy targeting users who wish to access Netflix for free or a reduced price,’ Symantec’swrote in a company blog posting Feb. 11. ‘The most common offers are for existing Netflix accounts. These accounts either provide a month of viewing, or give full access to the premium service.

‘In most advertisements for these services, the seller asks the buyer not to change any information on the accounts, such as the password, as it may render them unusable,’ Payet added. ‘This is because a password change would alert the user who had their account stolen of the compromise.’

There are so many stolen Netflix credentials out there that Payet’s screenshots of online black markets include an ad for a tool called ” that spits out freshly compromised credentials in bulk, for people who want to resell those credentials to end users. It can be accessed for set periods of time — $10 for a week, $20 for a month or $30 forever.

‘NetflixGenerator is a unique tool that generates freshly cracked accounts,’ the ad reads. ‘You can generate almost unlimited accounts per day. We update our account list daily to ensure you get only the freshest accounts.’

The golden ticket to unlimited streaming

With such a thriving trade in stolen Netflix credentials, online criminals need to steal more and more of them.

Payet notes that one method of doing so involves the good old— an email message or browser pop-up window that says you need to log back into your Netflix account for some reason, then takes you to a fake Netflix login page. Your email address and password are sent to criminals, and just to add injury to insult, the fake page may ask for your credit-card number as well.

But Netflix is so popular, Symantec says, thatposing as Netflix applications has cropped up as well.

‘One malware campaign involves malicious files posing as Netflix software on compromised computers’ desktops,’ Payet wrote. ‘The files are downloaders that, once executed, open the Netflix home page as a decoy and secretly download Infostealer.Banload. Banload steals banking information from the affected computer.’

Payet added that ‘the files are most likely downloaded by users who may have been tricked by fake advertisements or offers of free or cheaper access to Netflix.’

How to check for suspicious Netflix activity, and what to do about it

It couldn’t hurt to log into your Netflix account on a desktop computer and go to the.

See anything there that you’re sure that you, or anyone that you know shares your account, didn’t watch? If so, then you’ll want to change your password at. (Make sure.) The password change will force all users to sign in again with the new password.

If you’d rather not change the password, but want to give freeloaders a scare (and tell the credentials sellers that you’re on to them), you can just sign out all devices using your credentials at. The sign-out process may take up to 8 hours to populate to all devices, Netflix says.